Next Up Columbus 2020: Christy Bertolo

Destiny Coleman
Christy Bertolo

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Sarah Shumick

Name: Christy Bertolo
Age: 39
Profession: Director, Strategic Partnerships for The Ohio State University
Neighborhood: Upper Arlington
Education: Bachelor of Science, Marketing and Business Administration from Franklin University
Quote: “In this town people genuinely want to help each other, connect and make our city a better place. We will become the Columbus we want to become if we leverage all of our voices and people.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram

Christy Bertolo’s passion is connecting people. As Director of Strategic Partnerships for The Ohio State University, Bertolo gets to use this passion alongside her experience with Aveda Salon and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce to help companies effectively navigate the 150-year-old university. Today she has a fulfilling role which enables her to help her local and national connections access the talented faculty, staff and students across the institution.

Bertolo has three children whom she refers to as her “North Star” and motivation, saying, “As I prioritize and navigate my day I am always thinking of how I can make an impact to continue to move Columbus forward for my children.” She is also a big believer in self-care and makes time for it each week, whether it’s meeting a friend for coffee, getting a facial or just taking a walk.

Give us a snapshot of your career path:
I started my career as Director of Operations for 1400 Aveda Salon and Spas in Columbus. Right out of college I was given an opportunity to grow, scale and manage three upscale salons where I ignited my passion for entrepreneurship. I was afforded the opportunity to wear many different hats within the business to make it succeed. My most shining accomplishment while at Aveda was our employee satisfaction and low turnover – in an industry notorious for high turnover. After a fire decimated the business and forced a sale, my next step was the Columbus Chamber of Commerce where I was the VP of Business Services. This role was instrumental in expanding my network within Columbus and enabled me to build strong relationships with key business leaders which led me to my current role at Ohio State. In 2016 Ohio State announced they would be starting a new office and new position to help companies effectively navigate the university. I took a career challenge and left a position that I had built and loved for a new and unknown opportunity. One that would enable me to build the foundation for this new office at The Ohio State University. Today I have a fulfilling role which enables me to help national and local central Ohio business community, which I’ve come to know and love, access the talented faculty, staff and students holistically across the institution.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
My three kids literally and figuratively. They are my North Star and my motivation. As I prioritize and navigate my day I am always thinking of how I can make an impact to continue to move Columbus forward for my children. Connecting people is what gets me through the week. I derive energy from people and I love helping everyone. From facilitating meaningful connections with companies to the university to using my network to help others form business connections is where I gain happiness.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I have had many mentors to help me through my personal and professional lives. There hasn’t been just one, there have been several who’ve impacted my life and career. The best piece of advice I was given was, “you can have it all, just don’t expect it to be perfect,” which always resonated with me as a working mom who strives for balance. I’m proud of being able to be more than present, but instrumental in the lives of my children. I prioritize my room mom, dance mom and other duties but it’s not always perfect as the quote suggests. Everyone has challenges and my mentors have been a guiding light.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I am really into self-care. Some great advice I was given a few years ago was to mark 2 hours a month for “me” time. I began doing this in 2016 where I had scheduled non-negotiable appointment with myself every month. I would grab coffee with a friend, get a facial or just walk around a store. I now no longer need to schedule that time and have time allocated weekly to take care of myself.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dance teacher and a special education teacher. I lived at my dance studio growing up and all through high school I taught weekly swim lessons to our elementary school special education classes. I always thought I would be a school teacher during the day and a dance teacher at night.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I love a variety of podcasts and am currently hooked on Ologies and anything Jeffrey Epstein. Additionally, I’m listening to “The Silent Patient,” on Audible.

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It is a great honor to be recognized alongside such amazing talent in this city. I’m truly humbled to be considered.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The people! We have some of the best of the best in our community. In this town people genuinely want to help each other, connect and make our city a better place. We will become the Columbus we want to become if we leverage all of our voices and people.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in Central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. Special thanks to the Columbus Young Professionals Club, Discover Financial, and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2020” »

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